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Message-ID: <>
Newsgroups: alt.drugs
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 1995 03:16:30 UTC
Subject: Pharmaceuticals in Thailand FAQ

[This is a rough-draft of a 'Drugs in Thailand' faq I'm writing.  Comments
are welcome]

I've made a number of trips to Thailand in recent years, and I was pleased to
discover early on that it is very easy to purchase pharmaceuticals (as well
as various other drugs) there.

It appears that most pharmaceuticals are available without prescriptions.  In
Thailand, someone who is sick would most likely go to the pharmacist instead
of the doctor, describe his or her symptoms and buy medication over the

The pharmacies are everywhere!  You can hardly walk 10 minutes in Bangkok
without seeing one.  They all look more or less the same - an open storefront
with a glass counter along the right side of the store and glass-enclosed
shelves along the walls.  These displays are jam packed with just about every
medication imaginable.  Usually, the glass enclosed shelf on the left (if
you're facing the store) has things like cough-drops, suntan lotion, etc.
 The counter contains things like hydrocortisone cream, caladrylm, etc.  Its
on the shelves along the wall behind the counter that the good stuff is kept.
 Much of the good stuff is in big plastic bottles of 1000 or more pills.
 Other things are in boxes or smaller bottles.  The pharmacies almost always
have a white sign with green letters hanging out front.  This sign usually
also displays a green cross.

As a dope-fiend, you can walk into one of these pharmacies and ask for just
about any medium-level prescription drug, like Tylenol with codiene, Valium,
Xanax, Prozac, etc.  Sometimes they can tell that you are not purchasing for
legitimate purposes and they'll tell you no.  Other times they don't seem to

Over the years I have successfully purchased the following:

Tylenol w/Codeine (#2's w/15 mg Codeine)
Generic Acetaminophen/paracetamol w/Codeine (30 mg Codeine)
Tasty Green Apple Cough Drops with 10 mg/Codeine (they had cherry too!)
Phencodin - Codeine cough syrup.  (Nice with a shot of Jaegermister!)
Cold medicene w/10 mg codeine per pill
generic diazepam (Valium, 10/mg, blue)
Xanax (purple, 1 mg(?))
Eunoctin (10 mg. - not sure what this is)
Hydergine (4.5 mg)
bupenorphin (.2 mg - to be dissolved under the tounge.  Very nice)

I have asked for things like Darvon, Percocet, Percodan, Dilaudid,
pheno-barbital, etc. with no success.  Aparently really strong things like
these are regulated more strictly.

Most of the pharmacists speak English.  Those who don't will be able to read
the generic names of drugs.  Make sure you know the generic names of what you
want.  A lot of the better known drugs are marketed under completely
different brand names in Thailand.  Every pharmacy will have a book against
which they can attempt to cross reference a generic name to a local brand

The laws seem to be slowly changing to make these purchases a little more
difficult.  For example, in 1990 I purchased the amphetamines OTC very
easily.  They were absolutely forbidden OTC as of a subsequent trip in 1994.
 (Amphetamines are abundant in the black market in Thailand and used
extensively by truck drivers and manual laborers.  Amphetamines are
[generically] referred to as Yaa-Maa [horse medecine].  I would not recommend
trying to get ahold of black-market amphetamines because of their

Many of the things I've purchased were stored in a back room or in a locked
drawer or under the counter.  One pharmacy that blatantly sells drugs to
foreigners had some of the items (Halcion, bupenorphin and Eunoctin) hidden
behind a secret hidden compartment.  These items were aparently not supposed
to be available OTC.

The prices varied widely - from 1 baht (US$ .04) each for the Tasty Codeine
Cough Drops to 65 baht ($2.40) for each Prozac.

Be careful bringing these back to your home country.  I think that U.S.
Customs officials are looking out for people bringing things like this back
to the United States.  During one thorough investigation of my bags by
Customs, the officer discovered antacid that I bought (obviously OTC) as well
as (non-codeine) cough drops.  He was very interested and asked a number of
questions about them.

Other Drugs-

Aparently pot is quietly available everywhere if you are looking for it.  I'm
not a pot-smoker so I never tried.  There are some special Thai meals that
use pot as an ingredient - a special noodle soup in particular.  I don't
think this is something you can buy on the street or in a restaurant.

Opium smoking is usually available as part of the numerous "Hill Treks"
available in the north of Thailand.  I'm convinced that there must be
someplace tourists can go to smoke opium somewhere in Bangkok, but I've never
heard of this.  Anyone?

I tried something called "Kratom" which is a leaf that is chewed - supposedly
like the "Kat" or "Qat" they have in Somalia.  I got REALLY high the first
time for about 15 minutes.  Subseqwuent tries yielded little or nothing.  The
leaf is rather unpleasant tasting.  Ask a trusted local friend if you want to
try it.

Finally, there is a pharmacy in Bangkok on the 2nd (lesser) Soi (Alley) at
Patpong.  It is right in the midst of prostitute bars and sex-shows and the
like.  It appears to sell antibiotics and narcotics exclusively.  There are
big letters in the windows that say "SEDATIVES / HYPNOTICS / NARCOTICS" in
English.  Both times I went there, the cute woman behind the counter was very
helpful and between solicitous questions like, "Do you have a girlfriend in
Bangkok?" she gave all sorts of advice on how to take what to achieve what
kind of high.  "Take the codeine and valium together for Percodan like
effect," she told me.  (I personally don't think that that sounds very safe.
 - anyone else?)

I'm sure I missed a lot.  Post to alt.drugs or mail to my anon address for
questions, comments and updates.